BT Sport CEO Marc Watson Says To Expect More 'Eye-Watering' TV Rights Bids
BT Sport CEO Marc Watson has warned that his company "is ready to invest more 'eye-watering sums' and has its eye on the next round of Premier League TV rights," according to the PA. Watson said the £897M ($1.4B) BT spent on '15-18 Champions League rights was "worth every penny," despite Sky's claim that BT "had paid over the odds." Watson insisted that "there is room for BT and Sky in the marketplace," and said that his company is "willing to spend even more on sports rights to cement its position." Speaking at the UnitedCity sports summit in Manchester, England, Watson said, "We have been able to afford some pretty eye-watering sums because it drives a position in a big and lucrative market, and we are in a position to invest more." He added, "I know that some have questioned how much we have paid for football rights, especially in the last couple of weeks, but the truth is that money makes a difference in a highly competitive market and we only pay what we think the rights are genuinely worth to us, and we hope that's enough to win it" (PA, 11/18).
WORLD CUP, EPL ON DECK: In London, Ben Rumsby reported BT is "flirting with the idea" of bidding for the rights to the World Cup after Watson said he would "welcome" talks with FIFA on the matter. Watson also warned BT’s rivals that the company "had plenty of cash in reserve to continue bidding for premium sports content," including during the next Premier League auction in '15. Asked if taking Premier League rights from Sky would signal "the end" for BT’s bitterest rival, Watson said, "I’m not sure it’s the end. We’d have a hell of a proposition at that point" (TELEGRAPH, 11/19).